Texas Tech University

Ranch Life Learning

John Erickson

Ranch Life Books

The National Ranching Heritage Center is proud to partner with author John R. Erickson in a three-book Ranch Life Learning series that explains ranch life to children through the humorous voice of Hank the Cowdog. These books are written to engage students in learning about ranching and to serve as a resource book for science and social studies classes.

All three books of the series can be purchased for $6.99 at Cogdell's General Store inside the NRHC, or you can order from Maverick Books. Both books are also available on Amazon.

Generous gifts from George Clay and the Don Kay Clay Cash Foundation provided for publication and donation of the three books to area students. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the books are donated to NRHC Education efforts.

Teacher Workshop

For Teachers:

The National Ranching Heritage Center will offer three free summer workshops for educators.  Come learn about the Ranch Life Series!  For more information, or to register, click here.

If you would like to purchase Ranch Life books in quantities of 100 or more, please download this order form.

Ranch Life Curriculum - Activities to accompany each book:

Book 1: Ranching and Livestock

Download Social Studies and Science TEKS for Book 1

View and download Science and Social Studies Activities For Book 1

Book 2: Cowboys and Horses

Download activities for book 2 designed by Social Studies Specialist Jennifer Gaona and Science Specialist Michelle Sedberry.

Book 3: Ranch Wildlife

Download activities for book 3 designed by Social Studies Specialist Jennifer Gaona and Science Specialist Michelle Sedberry.

Ranch Life Learning Center


Forty years ago the doors of the National Ranching Heritage Center (NRHC) opened for the first time. The mission was clear: preserve and bring to life the mystique of early ranch life in the American Southwest. Since the doors opened on July 4, 1976, hundreds of thousands of people have come through our facility. The NRHC is now recognized as the No. 1 visitor attraction in Lubbock. We constantly search for ways to enrich our visitors' experiences and increase our public exposure. We have developed a plan to substantially enrich the experience of all who walk through our doors. It is called the Ranch Life Learning Center.

Learning Center

This center is designed to give an accurate, adult level ranch life educational experience in a format that will absolutely enrich the lives of children of all ages. This information will be communicated through the character and language of a very familiar ranch personality—Hank the Cowdog. Children will learn, perhaps for the first time, how beef cattle are the "magic machines that turn grass into beef." Adults will learn, perhaps for the first time, such little understood concepts as how the four-chambered ruminant stomach really works. The Ranch Life Learning Center will be an indoor/ outdoor comprehensive learning experience.

Learning Center

The Payne Foundation of Pampa, Texas, awarded the Ranching Heritage Association a grant of $50,000 to conceptualize and plan this new venue. They wanted us to dream big. We are now seeking funds to make building modifications, construct additional structures and equip the site with appropriate ranch equipment and features. Our quest for these funds includes solicitations to foundations, businesses, industries and individuals. Abundant naming opportunities will be available. We expect the Ranch Life Learning Center to enrich the visitor experience so dramatically at the NRHC that annual attendance figures may increase by 400%. This will, in turn, bring its own set of challenges, but the challenges of success are always easy to meet. Watch with bated breath while we move into this exciting new phase of life at the National Ranching Heritage Center.

To learn more about the Ranch Life Learning Center, contact Julie Hodges at 806-742-0498.

Hank Concert
Hank Concert

National Ranching Heritage Center